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March 15, 2023
Writing Process

How Do I Define New Adult Fantasy?

Let's chat about the New Adult Fantasy Genre.

What does New Adult Fantasy mean?

We can break it down into two parts: New Adult and Fantasy.

New Adult refers to the age of the main character. Usually, they are between 18 and 25 years old (though some will argue the starting point should be closer to 21).

For me, New Adult is a genre focusing on an older main character versus most young adult books, which tend to focus on characters in their teens. I keep my new adult main characters around 21 to 22 so that there is a difference between the types of problems they have to deal with. The problems a 16-year-old deals with versus someone in their early twenties gives you more room to work with.

While I do have one young adult fantasy series, I am enjoying writing in the new adult space more.

The second part of the equation is fantasy.

The fantasy genre is defined by magic; it doesn't have a basis in science or fact. The book might have different species — such as elves, dwarves, and unicorns — or include the use of magic. The setting may or may not be on Earth or on a different planet altogether.

So, if we add the two together we get a main character who is in their early twenties along with elements that do not deal with science or fact. It is a pretty wide-open genre and it can get smaller from there depending on what other genres or tropes it falls into.

An example is adding portals and multiple worlds to get a New Adult Portal Fantasy like Choice of the Traveler.

Wait, several retailers haven't listed it as New Adult and College under fantasy?

Yes, some places do add in ”and College.” Some NA Fantasy books include a college setting, though many don’t. Some worlds don't have a college setting, so I don't see this as a requirement. While my main character in Choice of the Traveler starts out in the middle/towards the end of college, the setting doesn’t stay on the college campus for long. The further along the series goes, this contention point shows up more and more.

So there you have it. This is what new adult fantasy means to me and how I am writing it.